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Involuntary treatment Donald H Rumsfeld US Secretary of Defense on November 18 2001 states The United States of America represents something so important to the world - our free way of life If you care about human beings you have to care that the US model which benefits not just the people in our country but across the globe succeeds Free people are free to be wise and unwise Thats part of what freedom is qtd in Smith Of course people are free to be wise and unwise mentally healthy and unhealthy Although our United States government suggests that people may be free to be mentally unhealthy laws of involuntary treatment such as the California Mental Health Services Act may revoke the freedom to be mentally ill Our laws provide two reasons to justify taking away a mental patients rights The first is to protect the citizenry from harm and the second is to protect the individual from harming him or herself Protecting the citizenry is often called an exercise of the states police powers Protecting an individual from harming himherself is often called an exercise of the states parens patriae powers Schmidt et al 64 Almost all state involuntary treatment laws revolve around this basis Once mentally ill patients are considered a danger to the public a danger to themselves and in a grave disability they can be forced into involuntary treatment by law In order to protect the safety of the public and the individuals persons with mental illness who Nguyen 2 refuse treatment should be submitted to involuntary treatment if they propose a danger to themselves and others around them According to Psychology Fifth Edition the criteria for judging abnormality includes statistical infrequency as compared to what most people do personal suffering and norm violations There are many types of mental disorders that may become dangerous to people suffering from the disorder as well as others around them
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